The Toxicity of Cell Phones

  • The circuit boards in cell phones contain myriad toxins such as arsenic, antimony, beryllium, cadmium, copper, lead, nickel, and zinc.
  • Brominated flame retardants are found in the plastic housing, printed wiring board, and cables.
  • The lithium-ion and nickel-metal hydride batteries contain heavy metals such as cobalt, zinc, and copper.
  • Many of these chemicals are Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxins (PBTs) and have the potential to be released into the air and groundwater when burned in incinerators or disposed of in landfills, thus creating unnecessary threats to human health and the environment.
  • Preliminary testing by the Department of Toxic Substances Control has shown that cell phones are likely to be determined hazardous at end-of-life and will require management under Universal Waste regulations.
  • Universal Wastes must be recycled or managed as hazardous waste. Disposal at an unauthorized site or landfill is a serious crime as well as a serious environmental threat.
  • Additional research by Dr. Timothy Townsend of the University of Florida for the US EPA has also found cell phones to leach hazardous levels of lead when disposed in landfill conditions.

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5 Responses to “The Toxicity of Cell Phones”

  1. Glad I stumbled into this article! Finally, got what I was looking for to put on my school report

  2. Very good information. Thanks for letting me know about this to help me in my environmental studies.

  3. Alyssum says:

    Thanks… i used this information in my “Cellphones and Society” Speech.

  4. kELIW says:

    Thank you soooooo much,
    I really needed this information for my science assignment,
    and if you are thinking i got a bad mark for it well……..
    i got an A+
    thank you soooooooo much

  5. andrew says:

    thanks 🙂

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